Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kid Konnection: Sorta Like a Rock Star

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a great YA novel that definitely captured my heart.

Summary: Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom's boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber's optimism--and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope?

With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope. The world is Amber's stage, and Amber is, well...she's sorta like a rock star. True? True. -- Little, Brown

Every once in awhile, I stumble upon a fantastic book that makes me remember why I love books so much. And then I get so excited that I want to tell everyone I know about it. This time it's a young adult book called SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR by Matthew Quick. This novel seriously affected me like few books do. I loved Amber and her story, and I also loved that this book made me both laugh and cry. However, what I most loved about this book is that it just resonated with the idea of hope.

By all accounts, Amber should be a teen girl who feels as if her life is pretty hopeless. And to be honest, her life is pretty bleak. She lives on a bus, doesn't know where her next meal is coming from, and hangs out with the outcasts at her high school. In addition, her mother is an alcoholic and gives new meaning to the word "negligent." However, despite all of this, Amber chooses to be optimistic and filled with hope. She just sees things differently than most of us do. When a horrific incident occurs that change Amber's life forever, I had to wonder if Amber (the self-proclaimed princess of hope) could cope and keep her upbeat nature.

Oh how I loved this story. And honestly, I think it was mainly because Amber was such an amazing character. As a mother, my heart continually went out to her and I was deeply impressed with her strength and resilience, and at the same time, I found that her personality (and constant optimism) was infectious. In fact, teens and adults alike can learn a lesson or two from Amber's sense of hope! I fell in love with this girl and she has definitely taken a permanent place in my heart. I will not soon forget Amber or her story.

And isn't that one of the criteria for what makes a book so special -- that you can't get it out of your mind? I picked up this book late one afternoon and I was so drawn into Amber's story that I didn't want to put it down. I couldn't believe how quickly I became caught up I became in Amber's story and I think that's a huge testament not only to Amber's character, but also Mr. Quick's writing style. SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR was just so entertaining for so many reasons. The characters were all very interesting, and despite dealing with some very serious issues, the book was extremely funny.

I cannot rave enough about Matthew Quick's writing. I loved the humor in this novel and I do think a lot of teens are going to be able to relate to parts of this story. At the very least, they will love Amber and admire her sense of hope. In addition, I found that Mr. Quick conveyed some fantastic messages about perseverance, friendship, and hope. I hope this comes across the right way, but I was extremely impressed that this book was written by a man. SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR was told in Amber's first person narrative, and I couldn't believe that a man was able to capture the voice and feelings of a teen girl so well.

SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR is a must-read for teens and adults (as far as I'm concerned), but it would also make a terrific discussion book for mother/daughter book clubs. I found a reader's guide on the author's website that encompasses many of the great themes of this story. Some of the topics you might want to explore include parent/child relationships, friendships, caring, loss, grief, of course, hope. In addition, you might want to discuss Amber's made-up expressions as well as the meaning of "sorta like a rock star."

Run, don't walk, to the store and get a copy of SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR. It's a beautiful story about a very special girl, and I can promise that it will warm your heart!

This really doesn't have anything to do with the story, but Mr. Quick  is married to another author whose book I enjoyed --  Alicia Bessette who wrote SIMPLY FROM SCRATCH (my review.) I like little bits of trivia like that!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too! 


bermudaonion said...

I love your enthusiasm for this book. It sounds wonderful - Amber sounds like a fantastic character! What's sad is that I'm sure there are many kids just like her out in the world today.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Makes me wonder where they took showers and used the bathroom. What a horrible thing to happen, and like Kathy said, it's probably not all that unheard of these days.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

This book sounds wonderful! I LOVE your review this morning. So full of energy!

Q said...

So glad you enjoyed!

Karlie said...

Sounds like a must read. So nice when you read something you love!!

Beth F said...

Oh man, another book that makes me sad my niece has moved on to adult books now. This would have been a great one for us to read together. Alas, at 16, she isn't all that keen on reading with her aunt anymore.